From “ ‘These Feelings that Fill My Heart’: Japanese Canadian Women’s Memories of Internment”
Compiled by Pamela Sugiman and published by the National Art Association
“ ‘We were told just to bring your clothes […] We didn’t have anything. We used to play with newspapers and things like that. Never had toys […] We were really poor…. And my father had just bought eighty acres in Mission [before the war began]. And that’s the place I was driving a horse and pulling out logs […] And we only cleared one acre. And the rest was taken away.’
“One of the most dramatic injustices of internment was the government’s confiscation of her family’s farm. (One of her disappointments was to visit the site of her farm four decades after the war ended, only to discover that it is now a highway. She sill longs to work the land.) But Ritsuko also links this memory to what she perceives to be another gross injustice, one that occurred within the family. When the Government did offer token financial compensation for the loss of farmland, her parents gave all of the money to their eldest son. She remembers this clearly:
“ ‘Ritsuko: We got compensation but I don’t know how much because my brother got them all. Everything. Very unfair. He didn’t work on the farm but we worked on the farm.
“Pam: How is it that he got the money?
“Ritsuko: I guess being the oldest son […] He got them all. The land and everything […] Only my borther got it. That’s all. My big brother […] That was very unfair of muy mother […] We didn’t een get a penny [in disgust]. And we worked so hard […] Went through a rough, rough time. Pam, I’m telling you […] But that hasn’t got much to do with evacuation [laugh].’ “